If you could get an insider view of a prospective college, would you jump on such an opportunity?
That is essentially what social media platforms offer. Today, much like any other business, the educational industry is also highly active on social networks. Using these channels, institutions try to increase their popularity across the globe.
With many universities trying to attract international applicants, social media plays a significant role in the handbook of digital marketing.
It is evident from the Higher Ed Social Media Engagement Report 2019 that Universities are investing in digital marketing and succeed in it.
Is this trend affecting the prospective students’ decisions as well? Let’s try to find out.
What the Numbers Say
Visiting campuses was for long the only option able to give you an idea of everything that awaits you at college or uni.
However, that is not the case anymore. Youngsters are no longer geographically restricted. They can use any college and any educational service like EssayPro from anywhere in the world. Still, an international freshman would be seeing the college for the first time only when they come to the actual place.
Thus, it is easy to find the social media page offering them more insight than official communication channels.
An International Student Survey released in 2019 states that 84 percent of students use these platforms to research universities. This is a one percent increase from the past two years. Sixty-eight percent of them use such pages to find information to make an inquiry and 26 percent to decide whether to accept an offer. Even after acceptance, 24 percent goes through these channels to plan their move.
It is obvious from this data that information from the networks is more deeply embedded with the decisions of prospective students than in the past few years.
Today, many colleges have social media platforms. Yet, official accounts are not the only ones to influence students’ perceptions.
How Students Connect Through Social Media
Many consider social networks as a communication tool. In 2019 in the US, Snapchat tops the list among teens as the favorite platform, followed by Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. However, when it comes to making decisions about studies, youngsters resort to Facebook and useful Youtube videos.
Prospective learners are more inclined to hear from the already enrolled students on the environment and quality of teaching offered on campus. Youngsters are keen to find practical tips to help with their application. There are also good opportunities to connect with other learners. It helps them to be better prepared and make acquaintances even before entering school.
College vlogs have become a popular niche in the past few years. From orientation clips, dorm tours, and day-in-the-life videos, students from many universities are posting content that may be tremendously helpful to future applicants.
In Stanford Daily’s article about college vlogs, the popular student vloggers say that the videos have helped others to relate to the lifestyle in elite universities.
That said, 90 percent of students still prefer to use email as the official communication mode with the University. On the other hand, social media is often used as a mode of assembling facts about the campus, rather than for correspondence. In short, young adults depend on social media for honest reviews, and first-hand takes of the college experience.
How Colleges Use Social Media
Colleges using social media to attract new students is only one side of the story. In fact, they are also looking into accounts before admitting applicants. The 2018 Kaplan Test Prep Survey found that 68 percent of colleges consider it a “fair game” to browse applicants’ profiles while making the final decision.
Nearly 10 percent of colleges have even revoked admissions of students based on their social media content. Many colleges have guidelines and policies that prohibit admission offers from looking into such networks. Yet, without these guidelines, it is entirely up to the officers to make a decision.
Whether it is explicitly acknowledged or not, social networks play a significant role in all aspects of students’ lives. In today’s landscape, their influence extends to the most important decisions.
Social media presents an unprecedented opportunity to become well-informed before choosing a college. It works in favor of prospective students.